Powers-Banks Ancestry

"Powers-Banks Ancestry", Powers, Wm. H, Ames, 1921

Page: 241-243

The wife of the first Benjamin Banks was Elizabeth, or Betty as she is called in her father’s will, daughter of Richard Lyon. There were in Fairfield two Lyons, probably brothers [This has since been disapproved by DNA Analysis], Richard and Thomas, both well-to-do landholders. Richard was probably the elder. The Lyons were known in Dorchester, Roxbury, and Salem as early as 1635.

Richard bought a house and lot of two acres in Fairfield in January, 1654, though he was there as early as 1649. He was made a freeman in 1664. In 1673 is recorded another land purchase. His will is dated 12 April, 1678, about which time he probably died. He mentions sons, Moses, Richard, William, Samuel, and Joseph, the last two being minors; daughters, Hester, married to Nathaniel Perry, Betty, Hannah, and Abigail, each of the last three to receive 40 pounds when nineteen years of age. Betty married Benjamin Banks, 29 January, 1679. It is thought that Richard Lyon had still other sons, John and Henry. Henry was householder in Fairfield in 1652. Richard must have been born early in the century. He may have been married more than once; his widow was Margaret. Richard was commissioner in 1669.

The family seems to have originated in Brabant. For faithful service one of the family was granted lands in Petshire, Scotland, in 1091, to which he gave the name Glen Lyon. [Sidney Elizabeth Lyon, in The Lyon Memorial, records the following legend: ‘Henry, Thomas and Richard Lyon, Lyons of Glen Lyon in Perthshire, soldiers in Cromwell’s army, were on guard before the Banqueting House at Whitehall on January 30th, 1648(9), and they witnessed the execution of Charles I. A tremendous reaction followed the regicide, and many a Puritan and Covenanter patriot of the insurgent army dissapeared from London. The three Lyon brothers took advantage of a national privilege. They had kinsmen in Middlesex and Norfolk counties who may have kept them in concealment pending a departure of a ship for the Colonies. It is a rational supposition that Henry, Thomas and Richard Lyon landed at New Haven. As there lived John Lyne of Badby, Northamptonshire, England, a supposed kinsman, who had come in 1638, with Eaton and Hopkins, as directors and John Davenport, as spiritual guide, to plant an independent colony on the Connecticut coast. To their hospitable protection came the Regicides, Goffe and Whalley, in later troublous times." Improbable, even the date being against it. Richard Lyon was probably in this country some time before 30 January, 1649.’]

The line descends from this date to John Lyon of Rystippe, third, eldest son of Henry Lyon (1440), born 1470. He married Emma Hedde, and had four sons: Henry, born 1500; Thomas, born 1503; Richard, born 1505; and John, born 1510. It is a singular fact that of the fifteen Lyons who came to the American colonies between 1638 and 1683, twelve of them bore the distinctive family names of these sons of John Lyon of Rystippe–the exception being William of Roxbury, and Peter and George of Dorchester.
Richard Lyon settled in Fairfield, Connecticut. According to a tradition he was the youngest of three brothers, who came to New England probably about 1648 and located first in Fairfield County, Connecticut. The earliest item relating to him is found in the Colonial Records of Connecticut, i, p. 183, where we read in the proceedings of a "perticular Courte" in Hartford, 16 May, 1649, "Nehemiah Olmstead Plt contra Richard Lyon defendt in an action of the case to the damage of 12 pounds."

It is related that on one occasion at a witchcraft trial "the prisoner was sharpely rebuked by Richard Lyon, one of the keepers for bold language." This was the trial of Goody Knapp, in which also Mrs. Richard Lyon and Thomas Lyon appeared. The will of Richard Lyon, dated 12 April, 1678, probated 17 October, 1678, is almost the only source of information about his family. [Children of Richard Lyon, not certain that they are all by his wife Margaret, although nothing is known to the contrary, are not recorded in order of age, but all probably born in Fairfield, Connecticut: Moses, married Mary (Grumman?), died without issue 1696 or 1697; Richard jr. married Mary Frye, died Redding, January, 1740; William, married Phebe (???), died November, 1699; Samuel, a minor in 1678, married Susanna (???), died 1732; Joseph, probably youngest son, married Mary Jackson, died March, 1698; Hester, oldest daughter, born as early as 1658, married (1) before 1678, Nathaniel Perry, and (2) before April, 1699, (???) Grumman, died in 1699; Betty (Elizabeth), born about 1660 (a minor in 1678), married (1) 29 January, 1679, Benjamin Banks (Fairfield town records), married (2) before April, 1699, William Roberson (Also given as Rowlandson) (History of Fairfield); Hannah, born after April, 1699, married Joshua Jennings; Abigail, born after 1659, probably youngest child, married in 1696, Samuel Smith.]

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